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NYCFC trades Alex Ring to Austin FC for up to $1.25M in general allocation money

New York City FC midfielder Alexander Ring waves

New York City FC midfielder Alexander Ring waves to fans as he leaves the field after NYCFC defeated San Carlos in the second leg of a CONCACAF Champions League match on Feb. 26, 2020. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

New York City FC is in search of a new captain.

The club traded Alex Ring to expansion side Austin FC on Thursday, acquiring up to $1.25 million in general allocation money in the swap.

NYCFC will receive a guaranteed amount of $750,000 in general allocation money, with the additional $500,000 available through certain performance-based incentives.

"It’s a difficult moment for me to be leaving a Club and a city that has given me a lot over the past four seasons," Ring said in a statement. "It’s truly been a special part of my career and I can’t thank the players, coaches and front office enough for the support they provided myself and my family since coming to New York in 2017."

According to a source, the club had discussed a new long-term contract with Ring over the past year, but when it became clear a deal wouldn’t be reached, both sides agreed the club reluctantly would pursue a trade if the right offer came along before the end of Ring's current deal, which happened with Austin FC.

Ring, 29, has been a fixture in midfield for NYCFC since 2017 after joining from 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the German second division. He was an MLS All-Star in 2018 and became the club’s second captain ahead of the 2019 season, succeeding superstar David Villa in the role. Over four seasons, he made 120 MLS appearances for the club, scoring 10 goals with 13 assists.

With Ring out of the picture, the club is expcted to build around a fresh group in central midfield with homegrown talent James Sands and fellow youngsters Keaton Parks and Nicolás Acevedo.

"It’s never easy to consider losing a player of Alex’s quality, but in a salary cap league we have to make difficult decisions when finding ways to improve the team and we believe the significant offer positions us to improve the roster in 2021," said club sporing director David Lee in a statement. "Some of our younger talent in the midfield have also shown in 2020 that they are ready to take on even bigger roles and we’re looking forward to their continued development."

In Austin, Ring will reunite with former NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna, as well as former City teammate Ben Sweat, who was selected this week from Inter Miami by Austin in the MLS Expansion Draft.

New York Sports